Volunteering to be bumped - nostalgia?

Old Feb 4, 2024, 8:01 am
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Volunteering to be bumped - nostalgia?

Many years ago, whenever I was flying anywhere and had some flexibility, I'd ask the check-in agent whether the flight was full or not. If so, were they were looking for volunteers to be bumped? It was usually met with gratitude, and while I was seldom bumped I was often left until last to board and then find I'd been upgraded and/or given a gift. I think I was once put on a different carrier.

I'm assuming this doesn't happen any more with BA, now they have more sophisticated software?

I tend to fly premium class these days, and am very protective of the seats I've chosen. So I wouldn't necessarily want to do it. I'm just curious as to whether it's still a thing.

I used to have more flying skills - looking for courier flights, volunteering to be bumped, working out how to best get free upgrades. I've either lost my touch or these things don't exist any more. Or should I be looking at other forums, not just BA?
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 8:15 am
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I was travelling solo in Y about a year back. Checked in at EWR and was asked if I would consider being bumped to the next day. Hotel supplied and an upgrade next day. I said I could do that (chance to catch up with a friend in NY) and the checkin person came back and said all good. And we will fly you in WT+ the next day.

I told her that I would only be willing to help out if it meant a J seat but was told no dice. We left it at that and I got home on time.

My feeling (right or wrong) was that if I am going to supposedly make a sacrifice of a day then to make that worth my time is more than a Newark hotel and a slightly improved seat.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 8:29 am
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Not sure if it is still done, but I was asked a few years ago when checking in with VS and travelling alone whether I would mind moving to a later flight that day (which ended up being on BA). I was very happy to take the TPs and avios so gladly agreed and made my way across to T5. The following day I had an email from VS customer relations offering me a voucher for a free flight anywhere on their network as an apology. I’m sure this is something they no longer do but I was amazed at how generous they were for something that was a minor inconvenience to me.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by TabTraveller
Not sure if it is still done, but I was asked a few years ago when checking in with VS and travelling alone whether I would mind moving to a later flight that day (which ended up being on BA). I was very happy to take the TPs and avios so gladly agreed and made my way across to T5. The following day I had an email from VS customer relations offering me a voucher for a free flight anywhere on their network as an apology. I’m sure this is something they no longer do but I was amazed at how generous they were for something that was a minor inconvenience to me.
For Upper Class, compensation for a bump is either a voucher for a free (taxes and charges included) return flight in J anywhere on the network subject to award availability or 100000 miles (which might get you a return flight in J but with TFCs to pay obviously but could equally be used for other things).
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 8:48 am
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I’ve only been bumped once on BA. At check in for a LCY - JFK flight I was offered to fly from LHR in F, or in J with €600. After seeing the flight board full I was bundled into a prepaid taxi to LHR.

bmi used to regularly hand out bundles of £200 cash on the first morning shuttle from BHD to LHR. You knew it was in the offing if you saw a tripod flip chart set up at their check in on Sunday night!
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by bd95
For Upper Class, compensation for a bump is either a voucher for a free (taxes and charges included) return flight in J anywhere on the network subject to award availability or 100000 miles (which might get you a return flight in J but with TFCs to pay obviously but could equally be used for other things).
If this is still the case then it’s excellent policy. Have always thought that it was great customer service.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:23 am
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I've been asked a few times with BA on TATL sectors - usually UKP 500-600 for next day travel (but no mention of hotel/expenses). I've never taken it since I'm always travelling with a purpose. It does seem to happen more frequently (often) on internal US flight - a recent DCA-MSP flight AA were offering $1200 for a volunteer to fly via ORD and arrive 6 hours late (darn, I should have taken it!) - probably having just sold a Y ticket to someone else for $1500 !
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:35 am
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For all the faults of the rest of BA's IT, the revenue management side seems robust to me, so it is rare to be needed. Most involuntaries are up a cabin or two. I don't think I've ever been approached, and the one area where this sometimes falls down is on the E190s going to the Med during times of exceptional heat - they sometimes need to bump half a dozen passengers at LCY, typically over to LHR or LGW. Several hundred pounds and a taxi arrangement. The factor that sometimes gets overlooked is that there are often staff standby on flights, so they can be the ones who find themselves out of luck - and no compo for that matter.

I have had a few eye watering sums offered on AA to HNL and similar areas, unfortunately I'm usually going there to work so I don't have the option of accepting. But it does surprise me that their computers seem less sophisticated.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 9:43 am
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Once on TK about 10 years ago, Offered to move to a flight an hour later for £200 (IIRC) on the LHR-IST route. The original flight was overbooked due to an aircraft change. I accepted and ended up taxiing past my original but now delayed flight.

Once on BA perhaps 5-10 years ago (when Jet time operated as a sub) , offered £100 (IIRC) at the GLA lounge to move to the later flight. There used to be 2 flights mid to late evening and they must have needed my seat to accommodate connecting passengers.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave

I have had a few eye watering sums offered on AA to HNL and similar areas, unfortunately I'm usually going there to work so I don't have the option of accepting. But it does surprise me that their computers seem less sophisticated.
I’m usually a DL flyer rather than AA stateside but I know DL has a target of zero IDB so has removed all limits on VDB compensation to ensure any offloads are “voluntary”. I would also say that weather is probably more of a challenge in the USA, along with increased use of narrow bodies operating at the edge of their limits. Complex multihub operations probably don’t help, along with the proactive “protection” policies in disruption instead of BA’s one-shot policy. The US big 3 also make extensive use of regional aircraft on relatively long legs, and often have non-uniform fleets meaning that an aircraft change to one of same type can result in a different number of available seats (this also affects VS A330s right now).

HNL (and the rest of Hawaii) in particular is a long westbound overwater flight with few alternates and a flying population unlikely to change at short notice (less business, more leisure).
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
I have had a few eye watering sums offered on AA to HNL and similar areas, unfortunately I'm usually going there to work so I don't have the option of accepting. But it does surprise me that their computers seem less sophisticated.
i wouldn’t say their rm system is less sophisticated, more that the whole point is based on an arbitration between risk and desire to fill planes to the full, and on that front, it seems to me that us airlines (aa included) simply have more appetite for risk and thus oversell more, perhaps because the lack of ec261/uk261 gives them more control over compensation and they can often tempt more people with miles.

i also suspect the % of no shows is typically quite a bit higher in the us due to cost models (not least bigger o/d premium which makes hidden city ticketing more tempting) requiring higher overshoot but mechanically involving more risk. Lastly, on short haul, European airlines have (and use) c/y arbitration to adapt configurations progressively and till virtually departure time which makes for a precious adjustment tool. In the us, cabins are fixed so that’s not an option.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 11:00 am
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Oh yes. We had a lovely holiday in Barbados some 15 years ago. When we checked in at BGI for the return we heard a whisper that volunteers were being looked for in J as the flight was full. I put ourselves forward and we were actually thanked. Meal and taxi vouchers and compensation were given and a really nice hotel as well - quite a bit nicer than the one we had stayed in. When we went back the next day the exact same thing was rumoured but we thought it would be greedy to put ourselves forward again.

Last edited by Shingi; Feb 4, 2024 at 11:27 am
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 11:33 am
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On this topic, I posted on the subject for JFK-LHR flights here a while back:
Volunteering for later flight JFK-LHR?

I had always assumed that when ExpertFlyer showed zeros in all booking classes on the day of travel and there wasn’t an external reason (such as bad weather causing other cancellations which meant the airline was trying to hold space for potential reaccommodated passengers), it implied that the flight was oversold and therefore likely to want voluntary bump volunteers. However, this past Thursday I travelled on BA172 JFK-LHR which was zeroed out a bit before departure and actually went out with some empty seats, which completely confused me.
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by salut0
On this topic, I posted on the subject for JFK-LHR flights here a while back:
Volunteering for later flight JFK-LHR?

I had always assumed that when ExpertFlyer showed zeros in all booking classes on the day of travel and there wasn’t an external reason (such as bad weather causing other cancellations which meant the airline was trying to hold space for potential reaccommodated passengers), it implied that the flight was oversold and therefore likely to want voluntary bump volunteers. However, this past Thursday I travelled on BA172 JFK-LHR which was zeroed out a bit before departure and actually went out with some empty seats, which completely confused me.
Possibly some misconnecting passengers, or a lot of passengers on flexible tickets changing plans at last minute?
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Old Feb 4, 2024, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by Shingi
. I put ourselves forward and we were actually thanked. Meal and taxi vouchers and compensation were given and a really nice hotel as well - quite a bit nicer than the one we had stayed in. .
Flying to TAB next month,the flight is 0 everything, so here's hoping
I have had WT->WT+ +£300 (fully comped 24hrs bump) before, but only from BOS which isn't quite as appealing
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